Lobby group calling on feds to let nuclear workers rejoin public pension

The Canadian Alliance of Nuclear Workers is calling on the federal government to allow employees to remain members of the public service defined benefit pension plan.

While several nuclear facilities were formerly crown corporations, they underwent a transition to become government-owned, contractor-operated entities beginning in 2014. As a part of the change, employees at Canadian Nuclear Laboratories Ltd. facilities — including those in Chalk River, Ont., Port Hope, Ont., Fredricton, N.B. and Pinawa, Man. — would no longer be allowed to contribute to the public sector pension plan once a three-year transition period, ending on Sept. 12, 2018, elapsed.

Read: CNL staff agree to move to new multi-employer pension plan

The employees were left to try to join up with whatever multi-employer pension plan or other viable option they could find, says Matt Wayland, co-chair of the Canadian Alliance of Nuclear Workers.

Since the transition period has now passed, the organization is seeking an acknowledgement from the federal government, especially because there was no consultation process with the affected employees either leading up to, or during, the transition period, according to a press release.

“We feel even though the deadline is passed, there is still an opportunity for the government to act,” says Wayland. One possibility, he suggests, is for the government to put a halt to closing the plan until it conducts a consultation.

Read: Unions continue effort to convert multi-employer pension to target-benefit plan